Psalm 50:19

ESV “You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.
NIV You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.
NASB You let your mouth loose in evil, And your tongue harnesses deceit.
CSB You unleash your mouth for evil and harness your tongue for deceit.
NLT Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies.
KJV Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.

What does Psalm 50:19 mean?

The Judge (Psalm 50:1–7), God Himself, is charging Israel with blatant hypocrisy in worship (Psalm 50:8–9, 16–17). The prior verse noted that the nation tolerated thievery and adultery: two clear violations of the Lord's most basic laws for Israel (Exodus 20:14–15). As the next verse notes, this extends to slander: damaging, untrue claims and rumors about others (Psalm 50:20).

This verse's accusation involves deceptive, hateful, or dishonest speech. A nation saturated in such talk cannot claim to be attuned to their Creator. Proverbs 15:28 says, "The mouth of the wicked pours out evil things." James 3:6 describes the tongue as "a fire, a world of unrighteousness." James also calls the tongue "a restless evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8). Further he notes, "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God" (James 3:9). The apostle Paul knew even Christians are tempted to use speech for evil purposes. He commanded, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths" (Ephesians 4:29). He noted the correct alternative for our speech: "only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29).
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